Joshua 1 The Message (MSG)
1-9 After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:
“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
Job 38 The Message (MSG)
And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:
2-11 “Why do you confuse the issue?
Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
and I want some straight answers.
Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose,
And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place.
Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’
1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Scripture is full of plain, ordinary, broken people, who— just like us—must go it alone against crazy, mind-blowing, life-altering situations. Some of these Biblical heroes (or scoundrels) brought their awe-inspiring (or wretched) condition on themselves through their God-honoring (or perverse) personalities and/or excellent or (really terrible) choices. Others simply seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
But God is faithful. God is mighty. God never changes. God does have each of us in the palm of His hand. God is big enough to handle your questions about your suffering as He lovingly walks through it with you. Never, ever doubt that He cares for you! It is true that we can’t truly know the ways of God because only God is allowed to comment on God. His ways are inscrutable, but He is, in all ways, utterly dependable.
Yes. HE. Is. (These three simple words are notecard/bathroom mirror worthy. Think about it.)
I’ve been reading the book of Job. You remember Job…sackcloth and ashes, boils scraped with a shard of pottery…ugh. How does this happen? Again, it’s all in God’s control. To begin, God and Satan have an interesting conversation which is mostly about Job. God asks Satan—Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.
Satan answers—Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.
Spoiler alert. Job loses everything…everything…that he has. And to add insult to injury, his friends don’t have his back. They get pretty critical of Job and that criticism goes on and on for most of the Book of Job. However, in the end, Job lives and then God blesses the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. (Job 42:12) Amazingly, Job lived 140 more years and saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. (Job 42:16) I’d love that! Imagine spending time with not only your grandchildren but your grandchildren’s grandchildren! Yes, God restored everything that Job lost previously and then some.
Woman, this is one of my personal favorite promises of God…restoration. Joel 2:25-26 reads—I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. As a woman who is just finding her groove at age 60, this verse resonates with me every single time I read it. If I were a tattooing kind of woman I might be tempted to have it tattooed on my back and have my husband read it to me every morning. Sorry. Too much information.
Sisters, take comfort in this: God will not only never leave you or forsake you, (Deuteronomy 31:6) but God will restore all that you have lost…the years the locusts have eaten. In my case, this means the decades I wasted chasing after the wrong things to find peace and satisfaction in my life, which of course did not work out and therefore I was led back to God, my creator and my redeemer. I think we can all agree that we don’t understand God or His ways, but over and over again in my life, He has proven himself to be utterly dependable. Beth Moore calls God, “…a Lion we can’t tame but we can trust.” I love that.
Fellow servants, if you choose to be faithful to God—He will be faithful to you (Psalm 18:25). In the meantime, because sometimes God asks us to wait (Hmmm…waiting…not always my best thing…I’m way better at charging ahead. God is teaching me), I can eat like a starving woman from the endless buffet of comfort food for the soul found in the Word of God. I am constantly reminding myself of my primary mission as a Christ-follower: Love God and love others (Luke 10:27). I remember daily to walk in Paul’s example and praise God for all He has done in ALL circumstances! (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Dear woman, we are promised that we can ask God to help us to mine his deep caves of wisdom and understanding (James 1:5) and that He listens to us as we plead with him to give us the wealth of peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) Sisters, we can be sure..we can know…in both our hearts and in our minds that God will be with us through it all!
Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away,
May the name of the Lord be praised. ~Job 1:20
Here is what I know to be true in my bones—for all that God takes away from us…our health, our relationships, our loved ones by death or distance, our children in marriage or estrangement…you know the list could go on ad infinitum—God always, always, always can be depended upon to restore and replenish it all in His good and perfect time. Trust God’s wisdom and God’s character. Have confidence that God’s judgment is always good, right, and perfect.
I’ll leave you with these words from Job 19:23-27. Say them as a prayer. Worship your God in spirit and in truth for He is the alpha and omega…the beginning and the end. May He rule and reign forever and ever, amen! As you have probably heard, God is crazy about you. So much so, that He sent his precious and only son to the cross so that you could have life and have it more abundantly. Thank you, Father God! Thank you, Jesus!
Oh that my words were recorded,
That they were written on a scroll,
That they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead or engraved in rock forever!
I know my Redeemer lives,
And that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Amen!
Enjoy this 11 minute summary of the Book of Job – The Bible Project (YouTube).
Worship with Chris Tomlin and an acoustic cover of Housefire’s Yes And Amen. This is a song you’ll be singing at all of our Real Life campuses over the next few months. It’s a sweet, sweet song full of God’s truth. There is an interview with Chris Tomlin and Chris McClarney at the end that is worth a listen. Then one more: Build My Life.
Today’s post was written by Cindy Koopmans.
Cindy is married to her college sweetheart, Brian, for 38 years. She has three grown boys, two sweet daughters-in-law and a gorgeous little grand-man named Oliver Brian. Cindy teaches fifth grade at Sorrento Elementary and serves at the Mount Dora campus as their Worship Coordinator. Cindy’s passion is music, so her happy place is on the keyboard. She also enjoys reading (so many books, so little time), thrifting, and hanging out with Kramer the wonder Bichon. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Mount Dora campus.